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November 2021

Paul Keating was a complete prick and it took John Howard a decade to fix his mess.

Rare straightforward talk from a NSW Liberal - Police Minister David Elliott. 


Dominic Perrottet and I have a lot in common.

We’re both suburban dads, both came up through the Young Liberals and both cut our teeth in the corporate world before heading into politics.

Ironically, we can both say that Paul Keating has motivated us in some way.

In fact, as my then local member, Keating actually motivated me to join the Bankstown Young Liberals.

As a young person who entered the workforce when youth unemployment was nearly 50 per cent, it’s impossible for me to sit around to cop the veneration of St Paul.

His recent claim that he’s encouraging Premier Perrottet to make “people” the priority of the state government is bitterly ironic.

For those of us who are on the wrong side of 50, it would not come as a shock that Paul Keating’s government caused my father prolonged periods of unemployment and created 17 per cent mortgage interest rates. And Keating was the most uneducated prime minister since World War II.

Now I’m not saying you have to be a tradesman or professional to be in politics, in fact it would be disingenuous of me not to acknowledge the vision of Gough Whitlam by establishing the University of Western Sydney.

It thereby gave us westies a crack at a tertiary education but, like Bob Hawke mused, it’s no coincidence that Keating is the only former Labor prime minister incapable of writing his own memoirs.

Although there is one thing I thank Keating for.

His government’s economic failings forced me to mow lawns and paint houses to pay for my university degree, with that degree being my entry into the Royal Military College at Duntroon.

His cosy, and sometimes deeply hypocritical, relationship with the union movement gave me the motive to work in industry associations and the rest, as they say, is history.

As important as it is for Australian historians to objectively compare and contrast our leaders it’s probably a good time to note that as Treasurers, Dominic Perrottet and his federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg have managed the economy through an unprecedented number of national crises.

The cost of the war on terror, drought and climate emergencies, as well as the global pandemic, have forced treasurers and first ministers into providing a higher level of governance. Keating, however, faced no disaster that wasn’t of his own making.

Recently, I made the point to some journalists that the reason we have crap politicians in this country is because we treat our politicians like crap.

And I know us politicians are our own worst enemy and I’m in no position to cast the first stone, but it’s also just as important that we stop offering up blind praise to our leaders simply because it’s fashionable or, worst still, it suits the agenda of contemporary thought.

Do I sound bitter? I hope so.

The boyhood memories of having household utilities cut off and the embarrassment of having well-natured friends anonymously drop off groceries while listening to Paul Keating say that his recession was one we “had to have” still cuts to the bone.

Labor colleagues often remind me that Keating was disloyal to everyone who ever backed him in.

Saying that he has to teach any Liberal leader about “people” is like Henry VIII offering marriage guidance. He seemed to hate people, particularly his constituents in Bankstown, which is why he lived in Elizabeth Bay.

In short, Paul Keating was a complete prick and it took John Howard a decade to fix his mess.


Just a pause. To flatten the curve, or work out what we're doing or something.


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On the basis of medical advice provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Professor Paul Kelly, the National Security Committee has taken the necessary and temporary decision to pause the next step to safely reopen Australia to international skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders from 1 December until 15 December.

The reopening to travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea will also be paused until 15 December.

The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission.

Australia’s border is already closed to travellers except fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family, as well as fully vaccinated green lane travellers from New Zealand and Singapore and limited exemptions.

All arrivals to Australia also require a negative PCR test and to complete Australian traveller declaration forms detailing their vaccination status and confirming requirements to comply with state and territory public health requirements.

On Saturday, the Australian Government announced the following measures:

  1. Effective immediately, anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or their immediate family including parents of citizens, and who have been in African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and spread – within the past 14 days – will not be able to enter Australia. The countries are: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique.
  2. Australian citizens and permanent residents, immediate family members including parents arriving from these countries will need to go into immediate supervised quarantine for 14 days subject to jurisdictional arrangements.
  3. Anyone who has already arrived in Australia and who has been in any of the eight countries within the past 14 days must immediately isolate themselves and get tested for COVID-19 and follow jurisdictional quarantine requirements which will include quarantine for 14 days from the time of departure from southern Africa.
  4. These restrictions also apply to people, for instance international students and skilled migrants, arriving from the safe travel zones we have established with New Zealand and Singapore who have been in any of the eight countries within the past 14 days.

There are no flights planned from these countries.

These measures will also be continued until 15 December.

Upon further advice from Professor Kelly, Seychelles has been removed from the list of countries of concern.

Australian Border Force retains discretion to allow people in who are already in transit to enter, but these people will be subject to state based isolation requirements.

Under state public health requirements, New South Wales and Victoria have already initiated testing and 72 hours of isolation requirements for Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family members entering the country. In other states, 14 days of managed quarantine is required, and traveller cap arrangements are in place.

The Australian Government’s quarantine facility at Howard Springs in Darwin is available to support returning Australians each fortnight as required.

The Prime Minister has called a meeting of National Cabinet tomorrow to further discuss the Omicron variant and Australia’s response.

Australians can be assured that we are in a strong position to deal with COVID and its emerging challenges.

We have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 92.3 per cent having had a first dose and 86.8 per cent of our eligible population now double vaccinated, and we have one of the only whole of population booster programs being delivered, with around 415,000 Australians having received their booster.

Australia has a proven record of dealing with COVID, we have one of the lowest fatality rates, highest vaccination rates and strongest economies in the world.

We will continue to take sensible and responsive evidence based action, led by medical experts. This will ensure we can open safely, and stay safely open as we learn to live with the virus.

Rod Barton statement on Andrews Act "I had no choice but to roll up my sleeves to negotiate"

54 minutes ago
Rod Barton MP

The pandemic bill I will be supporting today is fundamentally a different bill.

It will never be perfect. But, the oversight provided by this bill is exponentially better than last week's bill and far better than the SOE.

We have absolutely curbed the powers of the Government.






He's so confident in what he's done that he's locked his Twitter account.

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ASIC hits Westpac with 6 Fed Court penalty proceedings - $80M customer refunds, $100M+ in fines

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21-320MR ASIC launches multiple legal actions against Westpac

ASIC has commenced six civil penalty proceedings against Westpac in the Federal Court. The proceedings, each the result of an individual ASIC investigation, allege widespread compliance failures across multiple Westpac businesses. The alleged conduct occurred over many years and affected many thousands of consumers.

The Westpac businesses against whom the allegations are made include its banking, superannuation and wealth management brands as well as Westpac’s former general insurance business.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘ASIC is disappointed to have to yet again commence legal proceedings, on this occasion no fewer than six times, against a major bank. The conduct and breaches alleged in these proceedings caused widespread consumer harm and ranged across Westpac’s everyday banking, financial advice, superannuation and insurance businesses.

‘A common aspect across these matters has been poor systems, poor processes and poor governance, which is suggestive of an overall poor compliance culture within Westpac at the relevant time. Customers are entitled to have trust and confidence in Westpac being able to deliver what it promises, without suffering financial harm. Westpac must urgently improve its systems and culture to ensure these systemic failures do not continue.

‘It is unprecedented for ASIC to file multiple proceedings against the same respondent at the same time,’ said Ms Court. ‘However, these were exceptional circumstances. ASIC had numerous Westpac-related matters under investigation through the course of 2021, and we decided to expedite those matters for consideration by the Court at the earliest opportunity.’

Westpac has admitted the allegations in each of the proceedings and will remediate approximately $80 million to customers.

ASIC and Westpac will submit to the Court that combined penalties of more than $100 million are appropriate.

Each matter will now be separately considered and determined by the Court.

The six matters filed against Westpac concern:

Fees for no service – deceased customers: ASIC alleges that over a 10-year period, Westpac and related entities within the Westpac group, charged over $10 million in advice fees to over 11,000 deceased customers for financial advice services that were not provided due to their death.

General insurance: ASIC alleges that Westpac distributed duplicate insurance policies to over 7,000 customers for the same property at the same time, causing customers to pay for two (or more) insurance policies where they had no need for the additional policies. ASIC also alleges that Westpac issued insurance policies to, and sought payment of premiums from, 329 customers who had not consented to entering into an insurance policy.

Insurance in super: ASIC alleges that Westpac subsidiary BT Funds Management charged members insurance premiums that included commission payments, despite commissions having been banned under the Future of Financial Advice reforms. BT Funds Management represented that the insurance fees had been properly deducted from members accounts when in fact the insurance fees that were deducted included commissions that were not permitted. Some members also paid commissions to financial advisers via their premiums even though they had elected to have the financial adviser component removed from their account. BT Funds is remediating over $12 million to over 8,000 affected members who were incorrectly charged.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has also been reviewing these matters and ASIC and APRA have taken a coordinated approach to their respective inquiries.

Inadequate fee disclosure: ASIC alleges that Westpac licensees BT Financial Advice, Securitor and Magnitude (all no longer operating) charged ongoing contribution fees for financial advice to customers without proper disclosure. Some fees were not disclosed to the customer at all, at other times the amount disclosed was less than the amount charged. It is estimated that at least 25,000 customers were charged over $7 millon in fees that had not been disclosed, or adequately disclosed.

Deregistered company accounts: ASIC alleges that Westpac did not have appropriate processes to manage accounts held in the names of deregistered companies. As a result, Westpac allowed approximately 21,000 deregistered company accounts to remain open. Westpac continued to charge fees on those accounts and allowed funds to be withdrawn from these accounts that should have been remitted to ASIC or the Commonwealth.

Debt onsale: ASIC alleges that Westpac sold consumer credit card and flexi-loan debt to debt purchasers with incorrect interest rates. These interest rates were higher than Westpac was contractually allowed to charge on at least part of the debts, resulting in more than 16,000 customers, who were likely to be in financial distress, being overcharged interest. Westpac and/or the debt purchasers have refunded over $17 million to affected customers.

ASIC further alleges that in all matters, excluding Debt onsale and Insurance in super, Westpac failed to ensure that its financial services were provided efficiently, honestly and fairly.

The full list of Westpac businesses against which the allegations are made are:

  • Westpac Banking Corporation
  • Advance Asset Management Limited
  • Asgard Capital Management Limited
  • BT Funds Management Limited
  • BT Funds Management No. 2 Limited
  • BT Portfolio Services Limited
  • Securitor Financial Group Pty Limited
  • Magnitude Group Pty Ltd 


Fees for no service - deceased customers: Originating Process (PDF 855 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 4 MB) 

General insurance: Originating Process (PDF 498 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 1 MB)  

Insurance in super: Originating Process (PDF 580 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 11 MB)  

Inadequate disclosure of fees: Originating Process (PDF 833 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 3 MB) 

Deregistered company accounts: Originating Process (PDF 529 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 10 MB)

Debt onsale: Originating Process (PDF 636 KB) and Statement of Agreed Facts (PDF 3 MB)